GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Forest Whitaker, an Oscar winner for his portrayal of ruthless dictator Idi Amin, is reversing direction to play one of the Bible's most beloved figures in a new audio version of the Old Testament.
Whitaker is the voice of Moses in "Inspired By ... The Bible Experience: Old Testament," officials said Tuesday.
The audio Bible, to be released in November on 72 CDs and on iTunes, features an all-black cast of more than 200 actors, singers and clergy, officials said Tuesday. The dramatic performances are set to an original musical score performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
The cast also includes Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Whitaker, 45, won an Oscar this year for his role as the brutal Ugandan dictator in "The Last King of Scotland." He also snagged Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophies for his role in the movie.
He began his foray into films playing an athlete in 1982's teen hit "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." He went on to star in movies such as Clint Eastwood's Charlie Parker biopic "Bird," "The Crying Game" and as a hulking assassin in "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai."
His directing credits include "Waiting to Exhale" and "Hope Floats."
The audio Bible is being produced by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Christian production company, Inspired By Media Group Inc., and released by Zondervan. The Grand Rapids-based publisher of religious books and recordings is a division of News Corp.-owned HarperCollins.
The two companies earlier teamed up to produce an audio version of the New Testament featuring many of the same performers. Since its release last November, the New Testament version has sold more than 310,000 copies, Zondervan said in a written statement.
Both productions were based on Zondervan's contemporary Today's New International Version translation of the Bible. The Old Testament version will be sold separately as well as paired with the New Testament version.